Western Native Trout Challenge
West slope cutthroat from Eastern WA, one of Washington's native trout species.
Earlier this year, a fly fishing partner introduced to a native trout quest called, Western Native Trout Challenge, westernnativetroutchallenge.org/. WNTC is a multi-state program hosted by the Western Native Trout Initiative. The ultimate goal is 21 native trout species from 12 states! There are three level of achievement, Expert Caster, Advanced Caster, and Master Caster. The Expert Caster can be repeated numerous times.
If you have photos of western native trout you have caught before you sign up, the catch can still be applied to your application as long as it is after 1997. Fortunately, I had four species I could use and added two more to complete Expert Caster fairly quickly. The above image shows my catch of species and state. The cost is $25. Upon completion of the first stage, you earn a nice ball cap, the above certificate and a nice colored decal that says, "I love native trout" with a beautiful colored trout illustration. Being retired, this program gives me a very interesting opportunity to sort of collect these native trout species over a wide variety of landscapes and environments. Besides this program there are also quite a number of trout slams across the west from many state fish and game departments. California has a very impressive program called the Heritage Trout Challenge.
There are no time limits to complete the program. I believe these native trout challenges are a great way to impress upon outdoor seekers and anglers the importance of native trout conservation.
For more information, there are some very exciting and interesting You Tube videos on the WNTC. Check it out!
Best wishes on your native trout fly fish pursuit!